Judaism instructs us to create memorials for those we loved who are no longer with us. And so we make something, we place something – a plaque on a wall, a monument by a grave. We dedicate a park bench. We plant a tree.
This appeared in The Week about a year and a half ago and has stayed with me ever since: For decades, travelers on the London Underground were given an audio warning to “mind the gap” when boarding. (I think I may have bought a t-shirt with the saying when I was there myself.) In recent years, it seems the Tube has been phasing out the famous phrase. But when the last station to play the message, Embankment, stopped doing so, the authorities received a heartfelt request. The widow of the man who had recorded it in the 1960s begged them to reconsider, as she would often visit that station just to hear his voice. Tube bosses agreed, so Londoners at the Embankment stop are still asked to “mind the gap.”
Some memorials aren’t made, they’re preserved. Some, though they can’t be touched, touch us all the same.